Big news today is President Bush’s nomination of Judge Samuel Alito of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals to serve on the Supreme Court. AP write-up on Newsday.com, here. New York Times, here and MSNBC here. Lots of NPR coverage here.
Unlike John Roberts or Harriet Miers, Judge Alito has a long judicial record, one that will provide lots of grist for the confirmation mill. Here are a few NSBA summaries of Alito opinions in school law cases: this one striking down a district’s policy against harassing speech; this one striking down a district’s decision not to distribute materials from religious groups to students; and this one finding that a district court failed to accord “due weight” to a special ed hearing officer’s decision that a district should have approved the transfer of a student who had been badly bullied to another school district.
Alito has taken a strong interest in cases involving free speech and religion, and his rulings will be of comfort to social conservatives who had misgivings about Miers. Look for discussion of his decisions in employment cases, too. These will be of interest to public school boards and administrators, who (for now at least) collectively employ and manage more Americans than even Walmart.